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Which 1911 upgrade will be the most difficult?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by brockgl, Dec 4, 2008.

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  1. brockgl

    brockgl Member

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    I just bought these three items to install on my stainless Springfield Mil-Spec:

    New Beavertail Grip Safety,
    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=114538

    New Hammer,
    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=496392

    New Trigger,
    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=777797

    I detailed stripped my Springer for the first time this week, and it was easy. I honestly couldn't believe how easy it was, and it inspired me to do some upgrades.

    Out of those items, which will be the most difficult to install, and should I be able to do most of them with just minor filing? Also, what other upgrades would you all suggest to a stock 2008 Springer Mil-Spec?

    I am really looking forward to customizing my gun. It's cool to know the 1911 inside and out, and I'm excited. =)

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. distra

    distra Member

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    None are that hard to do. Depending on the gun the grip safety may take more time and blend, but really all those parts should go in with minimal effort. Trigger might need a little fitting, but I got by with just polishing the bars. Hardest part (i.e. takes the most time) is really just the disassembly/assembly process.
     
  3. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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    If you can strip down a 1911 you can do all of this quite easily.

    Strangely I know a guy that sells some 1911 parts--see WWW.2RCO.COM we haven't raised prices a penny in 3 years rumor is that could change in Jan.
     
  4. CWL

    CWL Member

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    The beavertail grip safety.

    Triggers and hammers are typically drop-in or may need tuning of the components themselves. If you do manage to 'screw it up' somehow, you can always toss the part.

    To properly fit a beavertail (not those 'drop-in' monstrosities) will take removal of metal from the frame. While not that difficult to the mechanically-inclined, any mistakes you do make will always be there to haunt you.

    As for additional recommendations, I suggest range time over added parts. Get to know how that gun performs before adding anything else to it.
     
  5. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Brock, the part you ordered will only "drop in" on Colt 1911s. Springfield 1911s have a shorter frame tang at the grip safety. Non "drop in" grip safeties for Colts and most other manufacturer's 1911s require cutting the frame to a .250" radius from the pin hole to the tip of the tang. Springfield specific safeties use a .220" radius to account for the shorter frame tang.

    I'd recommend you order the correct the correct part for a Springfield, such as this: http://www.brownells.com/aspx/ns/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=12750&title=1911 AUTO HIGH GRIP SAFETY, and have a gun smith do the radius cut for you. After that, fitting the trigger engagement on the grip safety is pretty simple. Luckily you have a stainless gun, so you wont need to re-blue after frame cutting.

    Buy a Kuhnhausen shop manual as well. Read it and understand what you're doing before you attempt the hammer & sear install - you have to get the engagement surfaces lined up correctly. Since this is your first hammer / sear install have a competent gunsmith check it for safety you complete the job.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    +1

    Dispite what many say, there is a lot more to fitting a hammer & sear correctly & safely then just "dropping them in".

    As for the beavertail?
    Be sure you got your ducks in a row with the new hammer & sear before any attemp at fitting a new safety.

    If you fit it to the old parts, it very likely will be unsafe, or not work at all with the new parts.

    rcmodel
     
  7. brockgl

    brockgl Member

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    ugaarguy: Thanks for that link; I did go ahead and order the grip safety from brownells instead. I'll keep the other one I ordered to practice on. Also, I don't plan on doing any frame cutting. If I can't get the grip-safety to function without modding the frame, I won't install it.

    rcmodel: Why is it not possible to fit a new part to my gun's original trigger group? If the new part comes with extra metal for me to shave off, in theory I should be able to file the metal to fit exactly like the other piece fit.

    I really don't understand why they don't make 'drop-in' parts for mass-produced guns like a Springfield Mil-Spec. I mean, I can order an engine part for a specific car engine and have it drop in and work flawlessly without any custom fitting.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I didn't say it wasn't possible.

    I said don't fit the new beavertail to the old hammer & sear, because the new hammer & sear won't be exactly the same as the old ones.

    rcmodel
     
  9. brockgl

    brockgl Member

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    Oh, of course!! Yeah, I totally misunderstood you rcmodel. Of course you're right!

    Yeah, I won't fit the new grip-safety until I know I have the hammer and sear I am going to be using.
     
  10. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    Drop-in grip safeties can look good. I'll snap some pics of mine later.
     
  11. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Fitting a beavertail can be a challenge, depending on the b/t and the gun frame, and how much metal has to come off. I did it, quite successfully, but took my time over several days.

    These are two identical RIA GI models, one of which I fitted with an RIA Tactical hammer, trigger and b/tail. You can see that I had to remove nearly 1/8" off the rear "horns" of the frame. Lots of gentle filing and sanding, but it's soooo much better than a drop-in. Turned out really nice.

    You'll notice that in the "rough" photos, I left a little bulk on the bottom of the frame horns, they don't quite match the contour of the b/t. I did this so the gunsmith that did the finishing could do the final blending and contouring of the frame to b/t. Essentially I told myself "STOP! STOP NOW! You've done good so far, don't mess it up!"

    DSCN1209.gif

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    DSCN1393.gif
     
  12. krs

    krs Member

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    Nice job, Ron.

    fitting the grip safety to the frame is only half the battle. There's another fitting job that can't be seen that is even a little more delicate and that is to make sure that the operating arm of the safety correctly keeps the gun from being able to fire unless the grip safety is depressed.

    I think that this part of the job is what rcmodel refered to in saying that the grip safety can't be fitted until the hammer/sear engagement and release are operating correctly.

    It's also possible to find that the thumb safety no longer is working after installing certain aftermarket hammer/sear combinations.

    All of the parts involved make up a system of firing and preventing from firing, and the parts each interact with the other parts of the system. One incorrectly fitted element can conceivable throw the whole firing system of a pistol out of whack so before changing out parts it's important to thoroughly understand how the whole thing works.
     
  13. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    You car engine is a recent design. It was designed in the age of expensive hand fitting, and cheap precision machining. The M1911 pistol was designed in a bygone era when machine time was expensive, and manual labor was cheap. That's why guns like the M1911, BHP, Colt revolvers, and older S&W revolvers have soul: a skilled craftsman put a piece of himself into those guns. Modern guns lack this soul: they're rapidly assembled with no fitting needed.
     
  14. brockgl

    brockgl Member

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    ugaarguy: That all may be true, but I still can't find a drop in part for my Springer =). So, maybe they are wanting to force me to add soul to my gun, which is fine.

    I agree totally that modern guns and modern 'anything' lacks the soul that they did 50-100 years ago.

    I really am hoping to learn how to do the hand-fitting that upgrading my 1911 is going to require. I would like to take some gun-smithing classes someday and become certified (is there a gun-smithing certification?).
     
  15. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Thanks!
     
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